King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia named his new heir in the person of Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz who also his defense minister. After the death of the crowned Prince Nayaf many are expecting that his defense minister will be in the line for successor.
The 76 year old new heir has built a reputation for pragmatism and is likely swiftly to assume substantial day-to-day responsibilities from a king 13 years his senior. He is opting for stability and a continuation of cautious reforms at a time of challenges for the world's biggest oil exporter.
As crown prince and later as king, Prince Salman will have to tackle challenges ranging from an Al Qaeda security threat to systemic joblessness at a time of unparalleled Middle Eastern turmoil, all set against a regional rivalry with Shia Iran. Saudi Arabia is nervous of the rise of Islamist movements such as Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood in the turmoil created by successive "Arab Spring" revolutions, as well as growing discontent among the region's Shia population groups.
Prince Salman will keep the defense portfolio and serve as deputy prime minister to King Abdullah.